Amazon.com Inc has announced that it is acquiring the US-based autonomous ride-hailing startup, Zoox. Both the firms declined to disclose the purchase amount, but as per a leading publication firm, the acquisition price is more than $1.2 billion.
The e-commerce giant, which is known for delivering over 10 billion items on a global scale, is now looking for cutting its cost with Zoox. Analysts at the American multinational investment bank, Morgan Stanley, have estimated that autonomous technology could save more than $20 billion a year on shipping for Amazon as it becomes an intimidating competitor to companies such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS. By 2023, the e-commerce giant is expected to spend $90 billion on logistics by expanding its truck trailer, last-mile delivery van, ocean freighter, and cargo jet networks.
To date, the acquisition of Zoox is the biggest bet of Amazon on the autonomous technologies-no matter if it is vehicular, aeronautic, or industrial. In Feb 2019, Amazon funded a $530 million Series B round to an autonomous car and truck startup, Aurora. In March 2012, Amazon had acquired Kiva Systems, a warehouse robotics startup, for $775 million.
In 2014, Apple chair Arthur D. Levinson’s son Jesse Levinson and artist-designer Tim Kentley Klay founded Zoox as a robotics company pioneering autonomous mobility-as-a-service. In late 2018, Zoox was first to get approval to offer autonomous transport services in California. In early 2019, autonomous vehicle startup appointed former Intel chief strategy officer Aicha Evans CEO as a signal to shift in priorities from conceptualization to commercialization.
In a statement, Amazon global consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said that Zoox is working to invent, imagine, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience. Just like Amazon, Zoox is also passionate about innovation and its customers. With this acquisition, we are happy to help the talented team of Zoox to bring their vision to reality in the coming years.
After the acquisition process, Zoox CEO Aicha Evans and its co-founder, Tim Kentley Klay and CTO, Jesse Levinson, would continue to lead the startup as a standalone business. Zoox has bagged more than $950 to date, and according to the internal reports, the startup is giving back the invested money to its majority of investors. American VC firm, DFJ, New York-based VC firm, Lux Capital, and Atlassian co-founder Michael Cannon-Brooks are some of the prominent investors of the six-year-old startup.
Last month, the leading publishing firm reported that both the firm were in advanced talks and the deal could value Zoox at less than the $3.2 billion it received in a funding round in 2018.
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